Benchmark Blog

Third Quarter Thrive – July, 2019

Jul 12, 2019
Benchmark Blog


Welcome to the electronic edition of Thrive, the Benchmark employee newsletter. Enjoy, and please share with Courtney Heiser or Simon May any stories you would like to include in a future issue!

Seeking Potential

By Doug Beebe, Benchmark President

Many of you have heard and seen our mission statement: “The mission of Benchmark Human Services is to help people live as independently as possible, be included in their community, and reach their maximum potential.” These are great thoughts, but what do they mean to you?

When you think about what we do, our true mission is not only to help support the individuals served to reach their potential, but to support you in reaching yours. I truly enjoy the quote below, as I think it reflects the key to true person centered planning and thinking, which is central to helping people grow and be successful: “The dreams and passions stored within hearts are powerful keys which can unlock a wealth of potential.” John C. Maxwell

When you walk into work, are you thinking of and focused on the potential of the people you support or are you thinking of the problems they have? By keeping the focus on potential, you can become a proactive player in helping people reach their dreams. In doing so, you can support yourself in reaching yours too. I think all of us enjoy working in positive environments, and sometimes our services create challenges that few people experience.

Whether the issues are a difficult family, a communication problem, unusual behaviors or habits, or even an inability to make a connection, moving through those challenges to help support those we serve achieve their dreams is our most important job. Put aside your judgments and doubts, and try, earnestly, to move to where the person you are supporting is centered.

When you can see the true person, you can better understand their potential. That potential is the foundation for growth and fulfillment in all people. By seeing that potential and supporting it, you begin building the healthy and supportive relationships that all of us need.
Remember to seek out that potential and make it the center of your decisions.

From the Front Lines


This month, several Benchmark staff in South Bend, Indiana celebrate milestone anniversaries. We’re always so honored when people choose to dedicate so many years of their lives to our mission and the people we serve. Meet some Northeast Indiana’s veteran staff.


Pamela Jenkins, DSP, 20 Years with Benchmark


What is the best part of your job?
The clients/the people that I support. I enjoy spending time assisting them and taking them to do fun things that not many people would do with them.

What is the most challenging part of your job?
When I am working and there is not a staff available to relieve me at the end of my shift and I am stuck working a longer shift.

If you were to start your own talk show, who would your first guest be and why?
I would invite my daughter, because I am proud of her and who she has become, her success and humility, she is also a very Godly woman. I am sure she would tell everyone how caring I am.


Kevin Sholley, DSP, 10 Years with Benchmark


What is the best part of your job?
I take pride in changing other people’s lives. I look at individuals that I have worked with and how they have grown and become independent in so many things.

What is the most challenging part of your job?
I am concerned with the majority of newer staff that fail to follow direction and stay on the job to assist others. They only seem to care about the money. This job requires people that have a heart for it.

If you were to start your own talk show, who would your first guest be and why?
I would want to interview Mayor Pete Buttigieg, because I see what he has done for the city of South Bend and how it has changed and grown. He has made some very good improvements. I also would interview Lubasi Kekelwa, my director, because staff have no complaints about him and the company. I work another job and people are leaving other agencies to come to Benchmark. I want to know why.


Melissa Holycross, DSP, 15 Years with Benchmark


What is the best part of your job?
The flexibility to meet the needs of my son as a single parent.

What is the most challenging part of your job?
Trying to meet everyone’s needs and feeling guilty because I am only human.

If you were to start your own talk show, who would your first guest be and why?
Wow, now that is an interesting question. I look in the faces of our caregivers, people on the street and my own in the mirror and realize we do not have enough joy in the world…so to bring that joy I would invite Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. He exudes joy, is humble and has such a giving heart. It also helps he is easy on the eyes. If he were still living, I would say George Carlin. His quick wit never ceased to amaze me.

Ongoing Success for Josh

By Jennifer Bauer, Program Coordinator, Southern Indiana

“I was a little scared because I get nervous, you know.” That was how Josh felt on his first day at his new job at Kroger in 2007. A recent graduate from Lawrenceburg High School, Josh was facing many changes in his life at that time. His grandmother, a big supporter in his life and the person he lived with, had fallen ill. Upon his graduation, his grandmother and other family members including his uncle and sister wanted Josh to live as normal of a life as possible despite his disability. They looked forward to his new employment at Kroger and knew this could be a great opportunity for him to learn independence.

His first day at work didn’t come easy and neither did the months to follow. He worked one day a week for three hours. Despite dealing with social anxiety, difficulty learning how to stock shelves, and his grandmother’s illness, Josh continued to show up to work as scheduled.

As Josh’s grandmother grew more ill, it became clear that she would have to be transferred to a nursing facility. This left Josh in need of a place to live. In 2008, Josh took the transition, moved, and began receiving residential services with AWS (now Benchmark Human Services). During his transition he made it clear that he wanted to continue to work at Kroger.

Despite the ongoing challenges he was encountering — moving into a new home, learning a new job, and his grandmother becoming ill, he faced each and every one of them with tenacity. Josh is now celebrating 12 years at Kroger and continues to love it. He bags groceries because that is his favorite job. He has built many relationships with customers and many choose to go through his line just to say hi to Josh.

Summer Sun on Social Media


You know, you don’t have to wait until Thrive come out to see some great photos of the individuals we serve from all over the country! Follow us on social media, just search Benchmark Human Services on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Also, if you would like to share any photos you’ve taken of or with the individuals in your area on social media, please send them to Simon May!


Success in South Dakota

By Taylor Berg, Case Manager, South Dakota

Aaron is attending South Dakota State University and is accomplishing amazing things in his life. Recently, Aaron was able to take a trip to Africa with his class at SDSU. He just wrapped up his first semester and was very successful. Aaron is set to graduate fall of 2022 with his Bachelor’s degree win Wildlife and Fishery Studies. Way to go Aaron!


Strings & Things

By Jerry Bartley, Program Coordinator, New Mexico

Sean has been working with Candyman Strings & Things in Santa Fe, New Mexico since March 2017. Two days a week, he dusts musical instruments and musical equipment for the retailer. He is well known to his co-workers at Candyman and they enjoy his good natured attitude, including his laughter and smile. Co-owners of Candyman, Randy and Cindy, love having Sean as part of their team.


Annual Nurses Meeting and SAT Training

By Debbie Hatfield, RN BSN CDDN

Benchmark nurses are the best! The nurses’ knowledge and commitment to the health, safety, and wellness of our individuals never ceases to amaze me. It is always great to see this diverse and talented group of professionals come together every year for our annual competency trainings and group meeting. We really appreciate this time once a year to have the opportunity to meet with our nurses face to face, and work with them on new skills and techniques.




Thrive honors employee hire anniversaries for July, August, and September, celebrating those who have worked at Benchmark for five years and longer.


Raheemat Adekanmbi – 5
Brenda Aguilar – 5
Souleymane Bance – 5
Jennifer Barrett – 5
Justine Bedocs – 5
Sonya Burnett – 5
Francie Carmain – 5
Mialetha Clay – 5
Leshan Dix – 5
Jonathan Fox – 5
Dana Griffith – 5
Robin Horn – 5
Janelle Jansson – 5
Shannon Lucas – 5
Ashley Lundquist – 5
Brenda Macon – 5
Matthew Marshall – 5
Jody Martin – 5
Mandy McQueen – 5
Dennis Meyer – 5
Shadrack Mibeere – 5
Christina Norris – 5
Isaac Ogundairo – 5
Meagan OLeary – 5
Alisa Pace – 5
Amanda Quillen – 5
Claudia Rode – 5
Jaime Rodon – 5
Ameria Sheriff – 5
Takudzwa Shumba – 5
Tamela Sizemore – 5
Beth Weiss – 5
Stacey Williams – 5
Paula Wynn – 5
Kristin Adkins – 6
Patricia Allen – 6
Alethia Bacon – 6
Alex Berrios – 6
Dawn Brown – 6
Kimba Brown – 6
Janet Brown – 6
Patrice Buchanan – 6
Zachary Cook – 6
Benjamin Cruse – 6
Valencia Davidson – 6
Sue Ellis – 6
Willie Gardner – 6
Patti Greer – 6
Tonya Hill – 6
Julia Hooper – 6
Sandra Houston – 6
Mysti Joye – 6
Paul Kabutha – 6
Annette Lee – 6
Tori McQueen – 6
Sandra Moore – 6
Eucharia Okendu – 6
Joshua Rabold – 6
Kara Richlak – 6
Angel Ripoll – 6
Kacianne Sealy – 6
Brenda Severns – 6
Marissa Spiess – 6
Ashley Taper – 6
JoAnn Taylor – 6
Keyuna Thomas – 6
Megan Tracy – 6
Noelle Utley – 6
Ann Wainaina – 6
Imahn Wakefield – 6
Christy Ware – 6
Shannon Winston – 6
Majorine Zinabara – 6
Gloria Baity – 7
Festus Bolarinde – 7
Anthonio Corley – 7
Angela Couch – 7
Aurora Diaz – 7
Brandon Evans Knox – 7
Jason Frame – 7
Karen Geiger – 7

Rodney Geis – 7
Darryl Grady – 7
Nicole Infante Forsythe – 7
Sharon Jackson – 7
Lamont Johnson – 7
Mallory Leatherman – 7
Bryson Lowe – 7
Bueford McKinney – 7
Eureke Moorman – 7
Tamera Pendarvis – 7
Brenda Quintana – 7
Diane Ressler – 7
Lakeisha Ross – 7
Jennifer Ryan – 7
Betty Short – 7
Christa Smith – 7
Danielle Smith – 7
Derek Starling – 7
Maryann Taylor – 7
Andrea Walker – 7
Selly War – 7
Antonio Wilson – 7
Kimberly Anthony – 8
Robert Ashlock – 8
Peter Belsky – 8
Kwabena Boaitey – 8
Erin Bonnette – 8
Franklin Briggs – 8
Army Burks – 8
Antwan Byrd – 8
Franklin Davis – 8
Matthew Doctor – 8
Cynthia Driggers – 8
Yvette Eccleston – 8
Lucky Erenven – 8
Debra Fischer – 8
Jerri Flowers – 8
Thomas Foster – 8
Marcia Fowlkes – 8
Katrena Gibson – 8
Max Gilyan – 8
Antionette Godwin – 8
Denise Good – 8
George Harris – 8
Christie Hinton – 8
Betty Holloway – 8
William Hopkins – 8
Adrienne Hubbard – 8
Mary Jessup – 8
Joyce Johnson – 8
Anjali Joshi – 8
Litonlya Lester – 8
Charles Osei – 8
Ladoria Rankin – 8
Teresa Salemi-Gumiran – 8
Sharon Sanchez – 8
John Sesay – 8
Jayne Spitznogle – 8
Ginger Sunbom – 8
Christine Taylor – 8
LaShonda Thomas – 8
Iris Varela – 8
Pamela Walker – 8
Connie Walters – 8
Jeanne Warno – 8
Evelyn Wimbley – 8
Leslie Armstrong – 9
Maritza Baden – 9
Jean Beausoleil – 9
JoAnn Bowman – 9
Barbara Brown – 9
Minerva Coker – 9
Kimberly Finn – 9
John Guercio – 9
Vicki Kennedy – 9
Derrick McGraw – 9
Gladys Muchemi – 9
Tony Rainbolt – 9
Shelby Taylor – 9
Comfort Alade – 10
Eileen Baker – 10

Melody Bolka – 10
Cassandra Clubb – 10
Solomon Daniel – 10
Juliann Darlington – 10
Cheryl Galbraith – 10
Kristen Gentilini – 10
Victoria Halbert – 10
Ashley Johnston – 10
Hazel Kuczmanski – 10
May Listenberger – 10
Beatrice Macharia – 10
Peter Mbugguss – 10
Nancy McClimans – 10
Heather Morelan – 10
Katie Motil – 10
Ryan Moyer – 10
David Muthike – 10
Christina Narasimhan – 10
Ruth Nothdurft – 10
Jodi Phillips – 10
Elizabeth Reynolds – 10
Courtney Schaffner – 10
Christina Simon – 10
Donna Ward – 10
Joella Wiggins – 10
Amber Adams – 11
Deborah Cartwright – 11
Galla Johnson – 11
Lucinda Kirkpatrick – 11
Kristina Lambert – 11
Amanda Musser – 11
Tamara Nash – 11
Jeremy Njoroge – 11
Alice Pilarski – 11
Tamra Stauffer – 11
Maureen Wilder – 11
Ella Ayers – 12
Philip Boakye – 12
Evelyn Brock – 12
Janet Mullins – 12
Gladys Mushatt – 12
Robert Taylor – 12
Dewayne Totten – 12
Jayne Underwood – 12
Erma Wims – 12
Jeffry Harris – 13
Michelle Maio-Venezia – 13
Kerrie Miller – 13
Staci Wimes – 13
Elaine Armstrong – 14
Kimberly Dick – 14
Jason McCain – 14
Pascaline Ruhaya – 14
Rosa Sturgis – 14
Patty Chambers – 15
Mary Weller – 15
Mbaso Katundu – 16
Linda McClish – 16
Lennie Singano – 16
Margaret Davis – 17
Mary Martin-Lawrence – 17
Tammy Schmitt – 17
David Casebourn – 18
Melanie Dahms – 19
Wilma Gaustad – 19
Angela Heller – 19
Lorraine Di Novo – 20
Cynthia Graeber – 20
Wallace Lacy – 20
Mary Zumbaugh – 20
Elaine Berning – 21
Joy Dennison – 21
Holly Eykholt – 21
Michelle Desmonds – 22
Brandy Patterson – 22
Thomas Titus – 22
Paula Tucker – 24
Karen Lichtsinn – 25
Anne Titus – 27
Margaret Cantey – 28
Karen Shollenberger – 31

Movin’ On Up!


Below is a list of employees who were promoted in April, May, and June and the position to which they were promoted. Congratulations to all!


Dericka Jones – Registered Behavior Technician
Elizabeth Hayes – Licensed Clinical Staff

Rachel Havrick – Assistant Director
Stephanie Barnes – Job Coach
Tamela Sizemore – Supported Living Manager
Linda Powers – Medical Assistant
Sharase Allen – Team Leader
Brittnee Ash – Residential QDDP Coordinator
Ranesha Giddens – Residential Manager
Jaclyn Sidell – Activities Coordinator
Lara Truslow – Team Leader
Tanya Higgins – Residential Manager
Sara Mefford – Team Leader
Kendal Baker – Field Supervisor
Marion Hall – Team Leader
Stephanie West – Team Leader
Kelsey White – Team Leader
Courtney Babcock – Administrative Assistant
Sharon Burt – LPN
Stephanie Alana – Administrative Assistant
Evelyn Gills – Team Leader
Tina Cortez – Supported Living Supervisor
Pascaline Ruhaya – Team Leader

Aisha Jefferys – Supported Living Supervisor

Paul Kabutha – Supported Living Manager
Ndubusi Ijioma – RN
Erica Jones – Supported Living Manager
Allen Mitchell – Registered Behavior Technician
Amber Solomon – Registered Behavior Technician
Lennie Singano – Supported Living Manager

New Jersey
Sandra Dennis – Team Leader
Kaitlyn Chainey – Team Leader

New Mexico
Iris Valera – Team Leader

Joyce Meyer – Team Leader
Morgan Kohler – Supported Living Supervisor
Makenzie Robbins – Team Leader
Kayla Creech – Supported Living Supervisor
Paula Morris – Supported Living Supervisor
Alison Entinghe – LPN
Kiana Champion – Team Leader

Terry Collins – Clinical Specialist
Megan Gardner – Developmental Therapist

© Benchmark Human Services   |   Privacy Policy